For ages, symmetry has been a synonym of good taste, aesthetics and positive visual stimulus. However, applying it in an interior design is, more or less, restrictive and unimaginative. This is due to the fact every move you make conditions you to make a separate move in order to “put things into balance”. Instead, why shouldn’t you embrace this imbalance and make it into your ally? This is so-called wabi-sabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy of embracing the imperfection in life and learning how to enjoy the beauty hidden in it. Designing in this trend can be incredibly liberating, yet, also challenging in more ways than one. Here are some suggestions and examples.
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that there’s a thin line between imperfect or imbalanced and outright messy and careless. Your wabi-sabi design may be imbalanced but it isn’t random. However, if you let all the unnecessary items, thrash and old furniture pieces you’re yet to store devour the room, you’ll make it look just outright chaotic. Keep in mind that your ultimate goal here is harmony, therefore, you need to heavily invest in transparency and directness of communication. With that in mind, any process of preparing a wabi-sabi design needs to start with decluttering.
Another thing you should focus on is the simplicity that’s not unlike what you’ve encountered in minimalism. In fact, these two trends have much in common. The phrase less is more also applies, yet, you also need to understand that this is not just about the simplicity of the layout but of the form, as well. This means picking simplistic furniture pieces and fixtures, like a plain wooden stool for your bathroom and a freestanding stone bathtub.
3. The raw form of materials
In theory and by exploiting numerous logical syllogisms, one could argue that all materials (even synthetic ones) are, in one way or another, obtained from nature. After all, the raw materials used for their making are natural, so wouldn’t that make them natural, as well? In practice, on the other hand, this doesn’t translate that well, seeing as how you aren’t aiming for a compelling reason to prove why you’re right but a sensation of being in touch with nature. The above-listed two fixtures (tub and a stool) can achieve this through their natural texture, which is what we were aiming for from the very start.
4. Natural landscape
Creating natural landscape is yet another challenge you’re bound to encounter, ranging from a way to implement adequate houseplants into your home and make them fit the landscape around. To achieve this, you need to think about the palette that you use for the interior of your home. We’re talking about hues you’re able to encounter in nature, which means that bright colors are off (for the most part).
In order to make your home stand out, you need to think past the traditional indoor plants and consider getting a real bonsai tree. The downside of this idea lies in the fact that such a tree takes quite a bit of maintenance. The fun part lies in the fact that you can make your own bonsai tree from a starter pack.
5. Clay is your friend
Metal, especially copper, is all the rage nowadays. However, when it comes to accessorizing, especially if we’re talking about bowls, planters and similar items, you might also try going with clay. The most compelling aspect of this is the fact that you get a completely new way of DIY decorating terracotta pots. While this is a trend that most commonly takes place outdoors, there isn’t a single reason why you shouldn’t start using it indoors.
6. Outdoor furniture
To carry on with this trend, you might also want to turn towards an outdoor seating solution inside of your home. Nonetheless, not every option is as available and applicable. Keeping things simple is your first goal. However, if you could embrace furniture made from reclaimed wood, it would be even better. Wabi-sabi is all about the natural cycle of life, death and growth. Naturally, reclaimed wood fits this idea perfectly due to the journey that the tree the furniture it’s made from had undergone to reach you.
7. Wooden floor
Lastly, while tiles (especially stone tiles) are also an option, it’s much safer to go with wood. Here, we’re not talking about laminate or engineered hardwood. What you need to go for are more natural-looking options like cork, bamboo and real hardwood. In this way, you can achieve a harmony with most of the above-listed trends or even combine this method in any other way possible. When choosing a floor finish, going for matte is by far the best choice.
One guide online described wabi-sabi design as shabby chic’s less flamboyant sibling and, based on the above-listed trends, this much seems to be true. Despite its dependence on organic and high-end materials, it wouldn’t be fair to describe wabi-sabi as expensive. Minimalism and dependence on DIY projects alone make it much more budget-friendly. All in all, it’s one of those low-effort high-impact trends that isn’t likely to get outdated in years to come, seeing as how it’s both efficient and beautiful.